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Issue #82
September, 2016

Seeking Their Voices: Improving Indigenous Student Learning Outcomes

Source: University of Regina
Focus: Educators and researchers

Summary: In May 2013, Dr. Mere Berryman and Te Arani Barrett, University of Waikato, visited Saskatchewan to share the experience of the Te Kotahitanga program and its success in improving learning outcomes for Maori youth attending New Zealand secondary schools. Mere’s influence was catalytic and led to a decision to explore the relevance of their work within the Saskatchewan context. The Joint Task Force on First Nation and Métis Education in Saskatchewan also reviewed the Te Kotahitanga program and recommended further exploration of the program in their final report entitled: Voices, Vision and Leadership: A Place for All (2013). The result was the Seeking their Voices research project. While the Executive Summary provides a brief over view, readers are encouraged to refer to the larger research document, in particular the Conclusions/Recommendations chapter.

The Seeking their Voices research project contained three separate initiatives focused on improving Saskatchewan Indigenous student learning outcomes: the heart of the research based on the voices of students, parents, teachers and school administrators in six Saskatchewan high schools, a literature review, and perspectives from national and international academics, school administrators and policy leaders. Not surprisingly, the messages from each of these research processes are consistent.

We do not know his name: Klatsassin and the Chilcotin War

Source: Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History
Focus: Secondary teachers

Summary: The blood of the fourteen men spilled into the Homathco River before dawn on the morning of April 29th, 1864 was only the beginning. By the end of May, 19 road-builders, packers and a farmer would be dead. It was the deadliest attack by Aboriginal people on immigrants in western Canada, before or since. Within six weeks an army of over 100 men were in the field to hunt down the killers.

Finding them was not going to be easy. The killings had taken place in a remote triangle in central British Columbia, a country of jagged mountains, torrential rivers, and high plateau, remote from any settlements and inaccessible by road or even a horse trail. The dead had been trying to change that; they all had some connection to the attempt to build a road from the coast to the goldfields of the Cariboo.

This was the territory of the Tsilhqot’in people who had lived on the high Chilcotin Plateau for centuries, perhaps for eons. The survivors of the attacks identified the principal leader of the more than 20 involved in the killings as a Tsilhqot’in chief, who was called by his people “Klatsassin”.

This website is essentially an archive of primary documents with some secondary interpretations added on, and it is organized into thematic sections. One of our goals is to offer users a taste of archival research, so within each section the documents are organized as we found them and as they would be likely be in any archives, by document type and then by date.

These are the real documents, retyped or resized, but otherwise exactly as they appear in the archives. You will encounter these documents in much the same way as would any historian who goes into the archives. You have to do the detective work to piece together the story of what happened, why it happened and what the outcomes were. Like any mystery, the documents contain clues, contradictions and even some misinformation when eyewitnesses got it wrong.

Winds of Change: Read the Report Card

Source: KAIROS Canada
Summary: Report Card: Provincial and Territorial Curriculum on Indigenous Peoples

This report card has been prepared by KAIROS as a baseline to assess progress in achieving reconciliation through education in schools across Canada. It is intended as a basis for dialogue. In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian Residential Schools called on governments in Canada, “in consultation and collaboration with Survivors, Aboriginal peoples, and educators, to make age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students.” (Call to Action 62.1) This is the basis upon which each province and territory has been assessed (see end of document for assessment criteria).

KAIROS would like to highlight that curriculum changes need to happen in partnership with Indigenous organizations and experts, including survivors. Since it is difficult to assess the quality of relationships, we have not included these criteria in the report card. However, it is absolutely crucial that collaboration be at the centre of the work.

In the words of Justice Murray Sinclair: “Education is what got us here and education is what will get us out”. Education is the cornerstone for change.

Help Decide Manitoba’s Fate

Source: Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia
Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: It is the year 1869. For 200 years, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) has governed and controlled Rupert’s Land, which includes the Red River Settlement. The British Government recently agreed to transfer all HBC lands to the newly formed country of Canada. Canada is making plans to take possession.

There is unrest in the Red River Settlement. Fears are growing that a foreign, Canadian government won’t give original settlers a say in how their government is run, respect their land holdings or value them as citizens. Rumours are circulating that Canada is sending troops to the settlement to take it by force. There are no assurances from Ottawa.

Help the people of the Red River Settlement decide what they should do.

First Nations Child Poverty: A Literature Review and Analysis (2015)

Source: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, Melisa Brittain and Cindy Blackstock
Focus: Researchers and Policy makers

Summary: This is a literature review and analysis of existing research on First Nations child poverty, examining its historical and contemporary causes and effects. The authors also evaluate existing poverty measures and outline existing and proposed interventions to address the continued and deliberate impoverishment of First Nations children.

Grade 11/12 Indian Residential Schools and Reconciliation

Source: First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC)
Focus: Grade 11/12

Summary: These Indian Residential Schools learning resources are designed to use an inquiry approach to provide students in a number of Grade 11 and 12 courses with an understanding of the history of the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada.

They are intended for use for instruction of students from all cultural backgrounds, not just Aboriginal students.

The learning activities are based on the use of primary source materials. They allow for the application of both a First Peoples Pedagogy and the changing BC Curriculum.

Mawkinumasultinej – Let’s Learn Together!

Source: Show Me Your Math: Connecting Math to our Lives and Communities
Focus: Elementary students

Summary: Show Me Your Math (SMYM) is a program that invites Aboriginal Students in Atlantic Canada to explore the mathematics that is evident in their own community and cultural practices. Through exploring aspects of counting, measuring, locating, designing, playing, and explaining, students discover that mathematics is all around them. Each year students gather for the annual math fair and celebrate the work they have done.

While this website contains samples of student SMYM projects, it also includes resources for doing culturally-based inquiry projects, research relating to decolonizing mathematics education for Indigenous students and information about a related Math Outreach program. All of this work is dedicated to transforming the experiences of Indigenous children and youth in learning mathematics and to increase both student achievement and student affinity for mathematics.

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